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Monday, July 08, 2013 8:40 pm

UN chief: Stop fighting in Syria during Ramadan

By PETER JAMES SPIELMANNAssociated Press

The United Nations secretary-general wants all sides in Syria's violent conflict to stop fighting during the holy month of Ramadan.

Ban Ki-moon says in a statement that "I am calling for ... every person holding a gun, to stop fighting and offer this month of peace as a collective present to their people."

Syria has already rejected the idea of a cease-fire with the opposition during Ramadan, which is due to begin Tuesday.

Syria's U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja'afari said Monday the rebels would have to be fully engaged in peace talks and commit to a U.S.-Russia sponsored round of talks in Geneva.

He was responding to a report in The Independent quoting the new head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition as offering a Ramadan cease-fire.
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